Boris Johnson has announced his resignation as leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party after he lost the support of much of his own Cabinet. Johnson spoke earlier today outside his official residence, 10 Downing Street, after some 60 members of Parliament quit his government in recent days to protest a series of scandals.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party, and therefore a new prime minister. And I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now, and the timetable will be announced next week. And I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until the new leader is in place.”
Johnson now faces widespread calls for his immediate resignation as prime minister, including from prominent members of his own party. After headlines, we’ll go to the U.K. for the latest on Boris Johnson.
In Illinois, a prosecutor investigating Monday’s massacre at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park says the suspect has confessed to the mass shooting, which left seven people dead and more than two dozen wounded. Twenty-one-year-old Robert Crimo III faces seven counts of first-degree murder and dozens of other charges that could bring him life in prison without parole. On Wednesday, a police spokesperson said Crimo contemplated carrying out another mass shooting at a Fourth of July celebration in Wisconsin — after he fled the scene of the Highland Park shooting.
Chris Covelli: “What investigative leads have thus turned up is that while he was driving and he located the celebration occurring in the Madison area, he contemplated another attack with the firearm he had in his car.”
Police in Richmond, Virginia, say they thwarted a massacre at a Fourth of July celebration Monday after receiving a call from a tipster, who overheard a conversation about plans for a mass shooting at a local amphitheater. Police arrested two suspects they say were armed for mass murder.
Gerald Smith: “They seized two assault rifles, one handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition.”
In Orlando, Florida, at least 12 people were injured in a stampede on July Fourth after people mistook fireworks for gunfire and fled, causing a panic. Elsewhere, Philadelphia’s mayor says he’s worried about the security of crowds in large-scale gatherings, after two police officers were shot and injured during a Fourth of July fireworks show. This comes as new data from the Marshall Project show mass shootings have become more common — and more deadly — in the United States over the past five years.
In Mississippi, pro-choice activists confronted anti-abortion protesters outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization Wednesday, on the clinic’s last day of operations. The clinic is at the center of the Supreme Court case that struck down Roe v. Wade and affirmed Mississippi’s near-total ban on abortions.
Texas’s most high-profile abortion care provider said Wednesday it will move its operations to New Mexico. Whole Women’s Health is closing its Texas clinics after the state’s Supreme Court allowed a century-old abortion ban to take effect.
Rolling Stone magazine reports a prominent Capitol Hill evangelical leader was caught on a hot mic boasting that she has prayed with sitting Supreme Court justices. The disclosure by anti-abortion activist Peggy Nienaber suggests a major conflict of interest with the court: Her ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, filed an amicus brief in the landmark case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned 50 years of Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights.
In El Salvador, a woman was found guilty of homicide last week and sentenced to 50 years in prison after she lost her fetus in the ninth month of pregnancy. Rights groups say that Lesli Lisbeth Ramírez was just 19 years old when she suffered an obstetric emergency in her home during June of 2020, leading to the end of her pregnancy. This appears to be the harshest sentence ever handed down in El Salvador to a woman accused of abortion, which is a criminal offense.
The United Nations warned Wednesday that up to 828 million people were affected by hunger last year — or about 10% of humanity. That figure represents an increase from soaring levels of hunger and malnutrition seen in 2020. The U.N. says food shortages caused by the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine threaten starvation and mass migration on an “unprecedented scale.”
In Ukraine, the mayor of Mykolaiv has ordered residents to evacuate, saying no part of the Black Sea port city remained safe against a Russian assault, as fire crews battled huge blazes sparked by the fighting. Elsewhere, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, remains under heavy fire from long-range Russian artillery.
On Wednesday, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin traveled to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Martin said Ireland stands ready to support Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction — and to help hold Russia accountable.
Prime Minister Micheál Martin: “The use of terror against and the deliberate targeting of civilian populations are war crimes. Those responsible, those carrying out these actions and those directing them, will be held fully accountable, and there will be no hiding places.”
In response, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned the U.S. and its allies could face nuclear retaliation if they pursue an international tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine. Medvedev wrote on social media, “The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Bali, Indonesia, for a meeting of G20 foreign ministers. Lavrov is expected to discuss the war in Ukraine with several top diplomats, though the Biden administration has ruled out any meeting with Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
The White House says President Biden and Vice President Harris have both spoken to the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison after she was arrested in Moscow’s airport last February for possession of cannabis oil. Biden and Harris’s phone call to Cherelle Griner on Wednesday came more than two weeks after the State Department botched a plan to have the couple speak by phone on their fourth wedding anniversary. It also came after Brittney Griner appealed directly to Biden for help in a handwritten letter. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said securing Griner’s release would be a top priority of the president.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “I can say that the president did read the letter. I was there when he read the letter. This is something, Brittney Griner being held in Moscow, we believe the federation is wrongfully — she’s being wrongfully detained in Moscow at this time. This is an issue that is a priority for this president.”
The Biden administration said Wednesday it will levy new sanctions against 15 individuals and entities allegedly linked to the illicit sale and shipment of Iranian oil. The Treasury Department cited a 2018 executive order by then-President Donald Trump as the basis for the penalties. That’s despite Joe Biden’s criticism of Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran during the 2020 presidential campaign. This comes after days of indirect talks in Qatar between Iranian and U.S. diplomats failed to reach a deal to have the United States rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, the landmark 2015 agreement that President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from in 2018. Iran’s foreign minister said after the failed talks his nation stands willing to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: “The American side should guarantee that Iran will fully benefit from a 2015 revived deal. So far, the American side has not been able to give such assurances.”
Iran says President Biden could rejoin the Iran nuclear deal at any time via executive order.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone will testify before the House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Cipollone is set to testify by video link behind closed doors on Friday. The committee subpoenaed Cipollone last week after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony indicated he had firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House.
Cassidy Hutchinson: “Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of 'Please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.’”
The committee plans to ask Cipollone about Trump’s efforts to subvert the election; a scheme to submit fake electoral ballots; Trump’s attempts to replace Justice Department leadership; and attempts to directly interfere with Congress’s activities on January 6, 2021.